LUCKY 7 MEME

I wasn’t planning on posting again for another couple of days, but you know what they say about the best laid plans…

It all started when I got an email from my dear friend, Connie J Jasperson. She had tagged me for the Lucky 7 Meme (thanks, Connie). What the heck is that, I hear you cry. My thoughts exactly! Connie did explain, through the words of Teresa Cypher: a meme is an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture. Got it?

Ok, so the rules are:

*go to page 77 of your current WIP

*go to line 7

*copy down the next 7 lines/sentences as written and post them on your blog or website

*tag 7 other authors

*let them know they’ve been tagged

As I haven’t reached page 77 in Heart Search 2 (I’m getting close, but not quite there yet), the excerpt has to be from Heart Search : Lost. This is probably not the best passage for this challenge, but I have to stick to the rules. However, I will give you a little something at the end which will help to explain the excerpt. So here it comes:

“I sat at the little table and slowly sipped my tea. I wasn’t really hungry after the large breakfast I’d consumed, but I thought perhaps a sugar hit might liven me up so I ate a chocolate chip muffin. My eyes drifted around the café area, not looking for anything in particular, yet I found myself observing some of the people that were there. A family sat at a table not far from me – a mum and dad with two small children. The little girl was adorable with blonde curls that brushed her shoulders and huge bright blue eyes. She saw me looking at her and smiled tentatively at me. I smiled back, unable to resist that lovely face, and a huge smile was returned.”

Here is a short synopsis for Heart Search : Lost

“Remy is on the verge of getting everything she wants. She has a great job, lovely home and is two weeks away from marrying her soulmate. But Joshua unexpectedly disappears a few days before the wedding, leaving just a note.

Remy, distraught and heartbroken resolves to find him and sets off on a long and lonely journey around the country. She has to fight through her emotional turmoil and find an inner strength she didn’t know she had just to keep going.

Meanwhile, Joshua is on a voyage of discovery with his new mentor, adjusting to his new immortal life, feeding on humans and discovering he has some amazing talents.

But fate can play cruel tricks on mortals and immortals alike and there are huge shocks in store for them both.”

So the excerpt for the Lucky 7 Meme is taken from one small part of Remy’s journey. She had just pulled off a motorway as she didn’t want to be ‘the jam in a lorry sandwich’ (her words) and was recuperating in a service station.

* * *

Anyway, now it’s time for me to pass the mantle onto another seven lucky contestants, and they are:

1. Christine Nolfi – http://www.christinenolfi.com/blog/

2. Brianna Lee McKenzie – http://briannaleemckenzie.blogspot.co.uk/

3. Shaun Allan – http://www.shaunallan.co.uk/

4. Ross M Kitson –  http://rossmkitson.blogspot.co.uk/

5. KD Rush – http://kdrush.com/Main/content.php/158-blogs

6. Mark Brassington – http://markbrassington.com

7. Laura Thomas – http://fuonlyknew.wordpress.com/

Enjoy the ride!

 

Author Spotlight: Roger Grubbs (and A Fab Contest)

I have two, yes two, really special treats for you today (so make sure you read all the way to the end!); I’m so pleased to welcome Roger Grubbs, author of over 38 books, to my blog today.

Welcome, Roger. Could you please tell us when you started writing and where you get your inspiration from?

Actually I began my writing career in 1979 as a market analyst.  In order to get my information in the hands of my clients, I was forced to learn the art of writing.  The next step was to market my services.  To be truthful, copywriting helped boost my career.  That is one of the toughest things to write.  There is a limited amount of space and so much to tell in order for it to be successful.  I became interested in writing novels in 2008.  Since then, I have written thirty-eight books, some of which have not yet been released.  I find that editing is the most difficult process to do before releasing a novel.  Writing stories seems to be a breeze for me because I enjoy it.  I feel it shows because my readers like them too.  

What inspires me the most is ‘good’ winning out over ‘evil’.  I have seen a lot of injustices in the world, and because of that I choose to write about characters that are instrumental in bringing about justice.  This motivates me and is expressed throughout my works.  My readers generally love the endings of my stories and are ready to read another one of my books when they finish.  

I’m sure our readers would love to know, of all the books you have written, what is your favourite and why?

I’m sorry but I have trouble picking just one, but I will choose three of my favorites if that is okay with you.  The Twelve SEALs was written to create awareness about the global problem of human trafficking.  I have just finished the 5th book in that series.  A team of former Navy SEALs is bringing about justice for the victims.  Survival is another book that readers love.  The story is centered about two young people of different social circles that really like each other.  But because of peer pressure, they have been unable to have a relationship.  After being stranded on a desolate island, that barrier is broken down.  Still they have a problem with telling each other that they are in love.  I cannot tell you how that turns out; you will just have to read the story.  Be prepared for a surprise ending.  The third book that I consider one of my favorites is A Mountain’s Secret.  There are four major plots going on at the same time in this Adventure Series.  The book ends in dramatic fashion when a storm prevents Dr. Andrew Rogers and his two companions from leaving Mt. Ararat.  There is something strange about this mountain that holds its visitors captive.  It is a test of endurance.

I can understand how difficult it is to pick just one out of 38! I’m curious – have you based any of your characters on yourself?

I would have to admit there is a little bit of me in all of my main characters.  I determined long ago that the best way to live a successful life is to stand for truth, justice, and honor.  My goal is for my characters to be good role models for everyone, especially young people.  It really makes me feel good when they get involved with the characters and want to imitate what they see.  Once they do that, they will follow them in the series if there is one.  Some of my single titles are so strong that readers return to them over and over again.  It is nice to see them enjoying those stories and characters.  

If you were to give one tip to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Always consider the reader.  I consider the most important aspect of my novels to be presenting the story and characters in a way that will be entertaining and interesting.  I refuse to bore my readers.  That is one of the things that kept me from reading more during my younger days.  If our novels are not capable of keeping the reader involved, then do not release it.  Put it aside, and work on another one.  Most importantly, do not become discouraged.  It takes time for a new author to reach the level of notoriety.  Patience is the key.  

That’s great advice there!

Now I happen to know a couple of random things about you, like you go weak at the knees for homemade meatloaf and sweet tea with plain cake and fresh strawberries on the side, is that true?

Well, yes! My favorite meal of all time is something most may consider unusual, but I don’t mind at all because I am a country boy. My knees go weak just thinking of it. It would be a plate filled with meatloaf, fried potatoes, cold slaw, and iron skillet cornbread. To the side would be a bowl of piping hot dried northern beans, seasoned to perfection. Top that off with sweet iced tea, and you have a meal fit for a king. And for dessert, picture this: a big slab of homemade yellow cake with white frosting, piled high with luscious fresh strawberries, crowned with whipped cream. Now that is what I call a meal. Barring any unforeseen complications, I am always served this meal for my birthday, Father’s Day, anniversary, or any other special day my wife feels I deserve such a treat. When my beautiful wife (excellent cook) moved in the front door, the canned chili went out the back. It can’t get any better than that!

Sounds yummy! While we’re on the subject of things you like…what type of books do you like to read?

Not to sound boastful, but I have to be truthful.  All of my works are original.  When I have time to read, I love going back and picking stories from my own library.  Every time I do that, it seems like a new experience for me; and I really enjoy it.

I think that’s pretty cool actually. Now what is your favourite holiday and why?

While most holidays hold something special, Christmas would have to be at the top of the list.  I have even written a book entitled, “The Greatest Gift of All”.  The reason I like this holiday best is because it brings families together and encourages sharing.  It also provides opportunities for us to do something good for someone else.  The best way to do that is anonymously.  You will find that out by reading this novel.  

I must admit, Christmas is my favourite holiday too and for the same reasons as you.

Finally, is there anything you would like to say to your readers?

Readers are my reason for writing novels.  I respect you and want to make sure that you are not disappointed with my novels.  We have a stringent checklist that each one must pass before it is released.  If at any time it does not measure up, my readers will never see it.  They deserve the best and that is what I strive to provide.  I write books in a lot of different genres.  I encourage you to pick out one that is right for you.  If you do that, you won’t be disappointed.  Finally I want to thank my readers that keep coming back for more.  That is the greatest compliment any author could ever receive.  

Roger, thank you so much for visiting today and letting us get to know you a bit better. I wish you every success with SEALS III, Big Trouble in Aruba!

It was my pleasure, Carlie, and I consider it an honor to be featured in this interview. This is a great way for readers to get to know authors on a personal basis. I have found that once a person reads one of my books, they come back for more. It is a matter of more people finding me. The connection between me and my readers is personal, and this opens the door to meet new people. Thanks for your help!

Readers are very pleased with the SEALs Series. It is being used to create awareness concerning human trafficking. There will be two more installments in the near future to add to this series. If you get a chance, check out SEALs III – Big Trouble in Aruba. Most people will be surprised by what is revealed.

 EXTRA SPECIAL CONTEST

Roger and I have come up with an incredible opportunity for you:

To enter this contest you need to come up with a name and description of a hero or villain. You have a limit of 300 words. It has to be a person and not a fantasy or sci-fi creature.

The winning entry will have a choice of one of two of Roger’s latest books for free, personally autographed AND their character will be featured in Roger’s next book.

How awesome is that?

Email your entries to carliecullenWP@yahoo.com by midnight GMT on 7th April 2012. Please include your name, location and email address in your entry. Entries received without contact details will not be considered. The winner will be announced on this blog no later than 21st April 2012.

So go get creative peeps and GOOD LUCK!

BIO: Roger Grubbs is a Market Analyst and proud owner of Market Consultants. Born in Alabama and a graduate of Auburn University, he currently resides in Central Florida where he enjoys running his company and writing.  He is also the proud owner of his very own publishing company.  This is not just any book publisher, but one that puts the emphasis on the readers. 

The motivating factor behind Roger’s writings is to entertain his readers.  His motto is simple.  “I want my readers to be eager to continue the story, long for the ending, and – when the experience is over – be happy they took the time to read my book.”  After all, reading can and should be enjoyable.

Follow Roger on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RogerGrubbs

Book Review: The Time Weaver by Thomas A Knight

 

I’ve just finished reading this entertaining debut novel by Thomas A Knight and can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Seth Alkirk is a Time Weaver, but he doesn’t know it. In his day-to-day existence he’s a software developer who bumbles through life and relationships. But Seth is haunted by the disappearance of his father and the mysterious book he left behind. On his 30th birthday, Seth finally manages to unlock the book only to discover strange symbols that he cannot decipher. Later that day, he’s involved in a car wreck that changes his life and world, and plunges him into an alternate reality where magic exists everywhere.

After being rescued by the beautiful Malia, an accomplished magic-wielding warrio,r and taken to this new world, Seth discovers he is the son of the most powerful Time Weaver ever to have lived in Galadir and that he has powers too. However, he has a hard time reconciling this, even after he manages to work some magic of his own.

What Seth learns quickly is that his powers are in great demand and not necessarily for good. As Seth, Malia and Cedric (a bard they meet on their journey) race to safety, they are hunted by an army of elite beasts under the control of a wizard gone bad. The rest of the army march on to the very place Seth and his party are heading. Perhaps it won’t be the safe haven they hope for.

I won’t say any more about the story as I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say this is an original concept that I’ve not encountered previously and it made a refreshing change. The characters are well crafted and Seth, in particular, has been given a good degree of depth. Personally, I would have liked a little more description of Galadir and what was unique about it. Also a lack of description of a few characters made it difficult to visualise them, but apart from that, this book is an entertaining read that enticed me in early on, and kept me hooked till the end. I will definitely be reading book 2.

 The Time Weaver is available on Amazon.com http://amzn.to/wHhCZR and Amazon.co.uk http://amzn.to/FPalHj

Modern Poetry: What Makes a Good Poem Great

I’ve always liked poetry and have even written a few in my time. Today I’m excited to welcome back Maria Johnson, who has written a fabulous article on Modern Poetry for you. Enjoy!

How do you write a good poem these days? Always before there were rules that needed to be followed; a strict meter, a defined stanza length, a set rhyming pattern, and the poems seemed to contain more of a narrative. These days everything is the opposite. Rhyming is frowned upon, and stanzas have become loose; writer-defined lengths and meters. I struggled with this once. After reading John Milton’s Paradise Lost in University, I decided to try writing my own version of the fall from grace in a more modern style, yet keeping the original perspective – Satan. Here is stanza 2 from a poem that takes just over 2 pages.

 

My eyes swept across the land, encompassing

The outer edges of Paradise, and

The band of Cherubim guarding the gates.

I leapt off the mountain, landing gracefully

At the Western edge of Paradise, my six

Wings flaring as I bounded over the wall

Of rock at its lowest point.

The sun shone down at its zenith, bathing

The land in its warm glow, turning

Everything a glittering green-yellow as

It filtered through the foliage of the trees.

I walked past the roses, red as fresh blood,

Refusing to inhale their heady scent,

Past the trees which lie at the centre

Of that garden, the smell of one so familiar,

The scent of home, the apples of Heaven,

The Fruit of Life, my heart ached at

That fragrance, and I grew cold.

 

This is a bad example of modern poetry. There is too much narrative going on here, and it reads like prose cut up into lines. Prose can be a good place to start, to get the idea in your head if you struggle to write poetry, but you don’t want to be bound by this early attempt. It is also too literal, poems these days have hidden meanings; you don’t want to spell it out for the reader, you want them to discover the meaning for themselves – that way it means more to them since everyone will read a piece slightly differently. Also you never want to start a modern poem with capital letters. In a modern poem, capital letters follow the prose rules; they are for the first line only, unless you have a full stop in which case you have one on the next word.

I gave the poem another attempt, this time disguising the theme of Original Sin within a modern setting.

 

The path glittered beside us

yellow, green as we lay

on a bed of pine needles.

My blood pumped hard

through my adolescent body.

I caressed her strong muscled thigh

in the late afternoon sunshine.

 

The plucked red rose

rested on her bosom,

blood petals strewn around her.

She inhaled its heady scent;

enchanter of the woods.

 

The apple from the hidden tree

lay discarded and broken.

 

Need to return her home,

past Sunday curfew,

she just lies there free

from the rules of society.

 

My lips brush this unadorned Venus,

savour the taste

of that apple on my lips

and wish I could have it

once more.

 

This is a good example of a modern poem. There are only capital letters at the beginning and after a full stop, the stanza length is uneven – specified by the poem and the individual sections, and the meaning is slightly veiled. There is still a narrative here – which I think is needed, though not everyone will agree – but it no longer reads like chopped-up prose. The trick to modern poetry is in the images. Do not tell the story, show it to them and let them work it out for themselves. Do not tell them “She lost her virginity”, show them “The plucked red rose/ rested on her bosom, /blood petals strewn around her.”

Although I updated the setting of this poem, I still kept the integral parts of Paradise in there. They are still surrounded by nature, there is still a hidden tree with an apple; however these have become symbols and the apple, as it always has, represents her innocence and her virginity. You need to try and find new images to show something which is why I used the image of the rose. Yet this is a double meaning line, many people will read it simply as a rose, so I included the short stanza below with more traditional imagery to reinforce the message “The apple from the hidden tree/lay discarded and broken.”

Each poem will be unique. Don’t try to force it into a mould, let the mould flow around it. Each of my stanzas are determined by the imagery, the sections of the narrative. I did not decide in advance what the format would be; I told the story and let it fall where it was meant to.

 

WOW! Thank you, Maria. This really does show how modern poetry can be interpreted in imaginative ways.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you love it? Hate it? Does this make you want to explore the creativity of it? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Maria Johnson has a BA Honours Degree in English & Creative Writing. She was nominated for International Young Poet of the Year in 2008 while still at university and has had her work published in an anthology. These days, she’s a freelance editor and proof reader and writes when she finds time.

Follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Maria7627

If you’re looking for a great editor or proof reader, contact her here: maria7627 AT hotmail DOT com

 

 

Limitations can be so liberating…

Today I’ve passed the keyboard to my good friend and amazing author, Connie J Jasperson and she shares with us why it’s so important to set boundaries. Take it away, Connie…

Limitations can be so liberating…

Good fantasy stories frequently involve magic, and you love good fantasy. You have this great idea for a story, and you want to tell it to the world. You sit at the keyboard and start pounding away, and the story just flows from your fingers. You are sailing, the story is flowing, and then suddenly you realize that Bart the Mage seems to have unlimited magic ability.

Well, I am here to tell you, that is no good because now there is no tension, no great ordeal for Bart to overcome. Bart can do anything!

Game over! End of story.

So now, it is at this point that you realize that you must create the ‘rules of magic’. I find it quite boring to read a book in which the author has never tried to imagine their own work beyond limitations of the worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, or Robert Jordan. Those are wonderful, riveting, fascinating worlds, but they have already been done! If all I want to do is expand on their work, that is fine, but I have to accept that at best it will be looked at as ‘fan fiction’ and not a true creation of my own. I rarely read fan fiction, and so I rarely write it!

I am an author, but I have a passion for reading.  I spend many hours each day reading the works of wonderful writers, reading on average 4 to 5 books a week. When each book is done I analyze what it was that I loved about that story, or conversely what I didn’t love.

My favorite authors are evenly divided among the most well known of the mainstream authors and also the not-so-well known indie authors. Along with memorable works of enduring quality, I often read books that don’t really work for me. I always seek out the indies, because with indie authors it is more of a gamble. You have the chance of stumbling across a real gem, although some books are just plain awful, poorly thought out and poorly edited. With those, it is tough to get past the first chapter.

Then there are the so-so books.  These are books that have such potential that I stayed with them despite the fact that they didn’t ring my bells. The reason why some books failed to please me was simple when I thought about it.  I kept waiting for the tension, waiting for the plot to thicken and it just never did. Everything was just too simple, too easy for the hero. Or, the magic just sort of happened and was not at all believable.

A great plot and great characters must be supported by a world that is fully believable.  For a world to be believable there must be limitations. That is also the first rule of magic.

I want each world that I read about to be unique, a new experience. With that in mind when I am writing, I try to tailor the magic to fit each world consistently.

Take Bart. He is a lowly journeyman mage, of average ability and intelligence. For a multitude of reasons he has decided that he must rid the world of Evil Badguy, a very powerful, very naughty wizard. Evil Badguy is very strong, and has great magic – but there are rules and so he is not omnipotent. Just as in real life, the antagonist must have a weakness and our protagonists now have the opportunity to grow and develop to their fullest potential. They will do this in process of finding and exploiting that weakness.

Now let’s say that Bart is a mage with offensive magic – maybe he can cast lightning at an enemy, or perhaps he can set fires with his magic. Can he also use magic to heal people? Can he heal himself? What are the rules governing these abilities and how do these rules affect the progress of the story? When it comes to magic, limitations open up many possibilities for plot development.

Let’s say that Bart can only reliably use one sort of magic. This is good, because now you have need for other several characters with other abilities. They each have a story which will come out and which will contribute to the advancement of the plot. Each character will have limits to their abilities and because of that they will need to interact and work with each other and with Bart whether they like each other or not if they want to win the final battle against Evil Badguy. This gives you ample opportunity to introduce tension into the story. Each time you make parameters and frameworks for your magic you make opportunities for conflict within your fantasy world, and conflict is what drives the plot.

What challenge does Bart have to overcome in order to win the day? Is he unable to fully use his own abilities? If that is so, why is he hampered in that way? How does that inability affect his companions and how do they feel about it? Are they hampered in anyway themselves? What has to happen before Bart can fully realize his abilities? Without rules, there would be no conflict, no reason for Bart to struggle and no story to tell.

Thus it is the limitations that you set on your characters that drive the plot.  In the field of epic fantasy, characters are often given great ability, and how the abilities are used is what makes the story interesting.  J. K. Rowling’s completely evil character, Voldemort has great ability, and great strength of will. He is so powerful that he is believed by all to be unbeatable.  But while he is extremely powerful, he is not omnipotent. These limitations are what allow an 11 year old boy to grow up to be Lord Voldemort’s most feared opponent.  The plots of all seven Harry Potter books revolve around the limitations of what the characters can do. How boring that would have been, if Harry Potter had been omnipotent from the outset and all of his adventures had consisted of him winning the day with little or no effort!

Now, the most important aspect of creating and designing the rules of magic for your world is to be consistent.  Do not make a habit of breaking those rules in the course of the story, because that reduces the believability of your story.  Let’s say that in chapter two Bart is unable to cast lightning while standing in a puddle of water. But wait! In chapter twenty-nine you have him drowning in a raging river and now he manages to fling a lucky lightning bolt at Evil Badguy, knocking him off a cliff.  Readers remember things like that, and it ruins the flow of the story.

It is true that I have read many brilliantly crafted books where the author broke their own rules of the use of magic, but they did it within certain restrictions that made the conflict believable. The way they did that was to set up conditions under which an exception to the rule was possible.  This added to the dimension of the story, and enhanced the flow of the story.

I hope that as writers you will think about the limitations of your worlds when you are creating them.  Those limitations are what shape the tales you are so passionate about telling. Believable boundaries are what make a story that is really just another rehashing of the old Good VS Evil into a memorable and beloved classic tale of valor and battles won at great cost and against great odds. That tale will inspire and enthrall the reader, and I will be eagerly waiting to read that tale!

Wow! Thank you so much, Connie, for taking over my keyboard today and sharing your insights and tips – this article is great for both writers and readers!

As always, I’d love to read your comments on this fab article!

Connie J JaspersonConnie J Jasperson lives and writes in rural Washington State.  She and her husband share five children, nine grandchildren and a love of good food and great music.  Connie has worked as a field-hand for a Christmas tree grower, a dark-room technician, a hotel maid, a bookkeeper and also ‘did time’ in the data entry pools of several large corporations.  She now is semi-retired and is writing and blogging full time. She is the author of the epic fantasy ‘Tower of Bones’ based in the fictional world of Neveyah, and ‘The Last Good Knight’, a medieval fantasy.  Currently in the works is another book based on the adventures of several characters in ‘The Last Good Knight’ and an epic fantasy, ‘Mountains of the Moon’ another tale of Neveyah. She can be found blogging at http://conniejjasperson.wordpress.com or http://bestinfantasy.blogspot.com.

 

Check out Connie’s books on Amazon – they are AMAZING!!!

Last Good Knight

To get it from Amazon.com  

To get it from Amazon UK  

Tower of Bones

To get it from Amazon.com 

To get it from Amazon UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review – Doxology by Brian Holers

Brief Summary

Vernon Davidson is an angry man. After a lifetime of abuse and loss, the 61-year-old is ready to get back at God, his co-workers, and everyone else in his north Louisiana hometown. He drinks too much to numb the pain, shuns his friends and embarrasses himself in the community. The once-cautious Vernon spirals into a reckless mess.

Only when he is reunited with his estranged nephew Jody is he forced to confront his situation. Jody is struggling in equal parts after inflicting exile upon himself by fleeing the family for a new life far away. Now his father, Vernon’s brother, is dying and Vernon agrees to retrieve him for his brother’s sake.

Review

Devastatingly poignant. The synergy between all the characters and their personal issues make this story incredibly moving.

Outstanding journey. Vernon and Jody travel difficult paths in an effort to make sense of their lives and that of their family. Secrets are revealed and insights are gained leading to new levels of understanding for Jody.

Xtraordinary characterisations. Each of the characters has a strong story and this comes across eloquently.

Original concept and story. One of the great things about this novel is how different it is. There are precious few books that concentrate on male perspective and relationships between male family members. I particularly liked the relationship between Leonard and Vernon.

Lovely story. Although there’s sadness in this story it demonstrates how people can learn to adapt to the hand they’ve been dealt, especially with all the strife they have endured. They gain a kind of understanding about themselves as individuals and about their family.

Offers a slightly different take on the concept of faith. There are religious connotations running through the story, but I felt the theory behind the faith was more about family and the relationships within.

Genuinely emotive. Leonard’s terminal illness and his desire to see his estranged children before his time runs out tugs on the heartstrings. You feel his sorrow and pain through the words of the author.

YES! I would definitely recommend it!

About the author: An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian makes up stories from the treetops.

Visit Brian on http://brianholers.com his website, http://twitter.com/BrianHolers on Twitter, http://www.facebook.com/brianholerswriter?sk=wall  on Facebook

About the book:  Fathers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy in this blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss, and the healing power of community and family.

Read an excerpt from Doxology> http://www.novelpublicity.com/doxology-excerpt/

Get it on Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005SL5VOG/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=novelpubli-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B005SL5VOG 

or Barnes & Noble  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/doxology-brian-douglas-holers/1105347043?ean=2940013218413&itm=1&usri=doxology+holers”

The Top Ten Books Challenge

My dear Twitter pal, KD Rush, threw down the gauntlet and challenged his friends to name their top ten books and give their reasons why. Never one to refuse a challenge, here are my top ten and why they are special to me:

10) Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild: I started dancing when I was 5-years old and it’s been a huge part of my life ever since. My parents were dancers and I followed in their footsteps. As a child I wanted to be a ballerina too, but was told I was too tall so never got the opportunity to find out if I would have been any good at it. I really related to this book in a big way and although I haven’t read it for more years than I care to remember, the enjoyment of it has always stayed with me.

9) The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty: As a teenager, I was into horror and anything paranormal and this book gave me both. I read it when I was in my early teens and it scared the crap out of me, so much so I wore a cross to bed for the next month! Funnily enough, I had the same reaction when I saw the film (under age of course, lol). But whatever way you slice it, this book is powerfully written and scary as hell.

8) Salem’s Lot by Stephen King: Ahhh, my first encounter with vampires. This book drew me in to a new world and was responsible for my burgeoning fascination with vampires. Since reading Salem’s Lot, I’ve read a whole host of other vampire novels since (The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice is another favourite, but didn’t quite make my top ten) and still do for that matter; I even write about them!

7) Kane & Abel by Jeffrey Archer: This, along with the sequels The Prodigal Daughter and Shall We Tell The President (2nd version) are firm favourites. The stories are very well written and I really enjoyed them.

 

6) The Rats by James Herbert: (Along with Lair, Domain and The City, the rest of the books in the series). There are several reasons why I like this series, but the main two are, they had a ring of believability to them, and I knew some of the places mentioned. As I’m British and my first job when I left school was in the city of London, I used the Underground on a daily basis. These books fed my love of horror/fantasy!

5) Wit’ch Fire by James Clemens (The Banned and The Banished series): For me, this is a great fantasy series. I found myself rooting for the main protagonist all the way through. It contained most of the elements you find in a great fantasy series and I didn’t want to put them down once I’d started them!

4) Lightning by Dean Koontz: I haven’t enjoyed all of Dean Koontz’s books, but there were a few memorable ones. Lightning was, for me, the best of them. I think it contained a great concept, was gripping and I enjoyed it so much I’ve read it several times over the years!

3) The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe by C S Lewis: It’s funny, but for some reason I never actually got around to reading the rest of the books in the series, something I still plan to rectify! Although my love of fantasy ultimately began with the fairy stories of Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm, this amazing story further fuelled that love and remains a firm favourite even now.

2) Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone (Sorcerer’s Stone in the US) by J K Rowling: With great characters, Hogwarts and the wonderful creatures she created, what’s not love to love about this series. It’s fabulous escapism, the stories are great and the climax is amazing.

1) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer: I don’t care if I hear a few groans from the audience, this is my favourite book! I thoroughly enjoyed all of the Twilight books, but this final one gripped me more than any other book I’ve read and I didn’t want to put it down until I’d finished it. The other big plus for me was it had vampires in it. I enjoyed Stephenie’s new take on vampires and the humanity she gave them. I enjoyed the back story of how the wolf pack came to be and how the synergy changed between them and the vampires throughout the four books. I think the saga will stand the test of time; they may never become ‘classics’, but I don’t care – it’s still my No. 1!

I have to admit, narrowing my huge list of favourite books down to just ten was a major task and one that’s taken me several days. Just outside of my top ten were books by Sidney Sheldon, Dan Brown, Alison DeLuca, Anne Rice, Terry Brooks, Raymond E Feist and David Eddings.

Ok, now it’s your turn. What are your top ten books and why? Care to share?